Department Of Health Says Schools, Non-Essential Businesses May Be Shut Down Again

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — City officials are threatening to shut down certain New York City neighborhoods if they don’t get COVID spikes under control.

An ultimatum from the Department of Health means if they don’t see changes by Monday, schools and non-essential businesses could be forced to close down again.

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The city is getting fed up and is ready to crack down on neighborhoods where COVID-19 is spiking, particularly in Brooklyn and Queens.

Specific areas include:

  • Gravesend/Homecrest — 6.0% infection rate
  • Midwood — 4.95% infection rate
  • Edgemere/Far Rockaway — 4.08% infection rate
  • Kew Gardens — 3.99% infection rate
  • Borough Park — 3.53% infection rate

Other targeted areas include Bensonhurst, Mapleton, Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Flatlands and Williamsburg.

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There will be regular inspections of all non-public schools within these clusters, and there will be increased enforcement on masks and social distancing.

“I mean, obviously, I’m scared, right? Like, New York has done such a wonderful job in keeping the numbers down, and I feel like all of these New York communities have really played their part in observing community safety and so the spikes are quite concerning,” one woman told CBS2’s Dick Brennan.

“It’s alarming. I think it’s to be expected. I hope that, like, as soon as people see that there’s a spike, they kind of go back into where we were earlier,” another woman said.


Authorities say if they don’t see significant improvement by Monday, they could prohibit gatherings over 10, issue fines for not wearing a face mask, close private schools and child care centers not meeting standards, and close all non-essential businesses immediately.

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“As we open up, we’ll see spikes, we’ll have to close up again. It’s unfortunate that it’s happening, but if we have to lock down, I’m ready for it,” one New Yorker said.

This comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he doesn’t trust the federal government to come up with a safe COVID vaccine.

“New York state will have its own review,” he said.

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Cuomo now says New York is forming its own committee to review and distribute a vaccine.

“I’m appointing a committee today that is going to come up with a vaccine distribution and implementation plan on how we will do it,” the governor said.

President Donald Trump was asked about the move by the governor.

“I think you put the people of New York at great risk, and he’s done that if you look at the nursing homes, 11,000 people died needlessly. So when you look at that, it’s very sad,” he said.

Back in the city, officials say they will be ramping up enforcement over the weekend and checking coronavirus numbers in local hot spots Monday. They say if there’s not significant improvement, they could start rolling things back.

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